In response to numerous complaints from first-class passengers about screaming babies on airplanes, Malaysia Airlines has announced that it is extending its ban on babies flying in the first class cabin. The airline already had a ban in place on Boeing 747-400 jets; now it plans to do the same on its Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.
Now, I know what you're thinking: That this policy is ballsy, harsh, reprehensible, and completely discriminatory ... and it's probably all of those things. But I also think it's brilliant. Here's why:
Just because your children are well-behaved and love to fly doesn't mean there aren't other parents who can't handle their children during flight. As a passenger -- usually in the economy section -- I've come to accept that screaming babies are part and parcel of flying on an airplane. I'm not thrilled about it, but I don't get upset about it. Sometimes I even ask if I can help. There's nothing you can really do -- save putting on some headphones and zoning off to your happy place.
But why should people who shell out big money to fly in comfort in first class have to tolerate such a thing? Many of the people in first class are there because they want/need to sleep on the flight. And it's nearly impossible to sleep when a baby is squalling next to you -- I don't care how sound-proof your headphones claim to be!
Here's the thing: Not every product, service, experience, etc. has to be family-friendly or even vice versa. Malaysia Airlines -- and any other airline that adopts a similar infant ban -- seems to be targeting a specific consumer: the childless passenger who will pay a lot of money to fly in comfort and quiet. If that's how they think they can make a profit, then they have every right to institute a baby ban.
But that also means a passenger looking for a more laid-back, family-friendly experience may feel alienated by this policy. Likely, they'll be looking to take their business elsewhere. And that might not be such a bad thing.
Image via Cesar Rincon/Flickr